I've already made numerous proclamations about how Spires That in the Sunset Rise are just about the best thing Chicago has to offer (well, second to Gino's Pizza, perhaps). With such a talented group, it's hardly unexpected that the various solo projects and offshoots are often just as impressive.
Tar Pet is the solo encarnation of Taralie Dawn. ?The Artist Revealed Is Taralie Dawn? was originally released as a handmade, limited CD-R and has recently been reissued by the Eclipse bohemoth. Tar Pet is as organic as it is disjointed. It reminds me of a lot of the great Finnish bands around today, but Tar Pet feels timeless. This simple compositions are stripped down to only the barest essentials, like someone who has abandoned everything own to walk the earth as a traveler.
Tar Pet is full of fractured melodies. They are like sunrays desperately trying to pierce the overcast skies. It is simple, but lovely and perfectly embodied on tracks like "I'll Remember You" and "The Dripping Hand." Based around Dawn's voice and an acoustic guitar, it's the little extras like the simple violin lines on the latter that make this truly special. Taralie's voice, though... it is the wave that is constantly beating the shore, eroding away any rough edges. She is the siren that leads the listener through the fog and into the heart of the earth. She is pure magic.
This album is full of acoustic-based whimsy, like the sound of leaves in the trees. Tar Pet is the kind of music I would expect to find in a hallucinogenic meadow. Never sure if it's real, never sure if it's just a figment of my imagination, but all the same - memorable and seemingly tangible. This is Taralie Dawn's personal sound world. She is the creator, moving pieces around to fit into her endless desires. We are just spectators, and lucky ones at that. She exerts a delicate force that shows her crafting abilities. Songs like "Lovely But Plain Day" and "The Dream is Over" seem perfectly destroyed and pieced back together in a new, but better, order. It's lovely. This is witch-psychedelia - wholly mystical, but always in search of the greater good. 8/10 -- Brad Rose (18 July, 2005)